I have college basketball obligations for the next five Saturdays, so Jayne and I took advantage of a day off today to make one of our favorite road trips — to the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area.
We met up with Jayne’s sister, Cara, in Greensboro and headed to the heart of Tobacco Road. (Actually, it was quiet on the basketball front there today — the N.C. State Wolfpack were in Gainesville, Fla., losing 68-66 to my Florida Gators, while North Carolina and Duke open their ACC schedules at home tomorrow against Boston College and Virginia Tech respectively.)
But our trip today involved shopping. In these instances, I usually try to find the nearest place to grab a cup of coffee and read a book. But there’s one shopping stop in Chapel Hill that I don’t mind at all, and that’s a wonderful store called A Southern Season. (http://www.asouthernseason.com)
After our London experience, going there now reminds me a little of our visits to the great food halls like Harrod’s, Selfridge’s and Fortnum & Mason. Anyway, it’s the closest thing to that within a reasonable drive of Charlotte.
You can get everything from olives to thin-sliced mortadella to petit fours, all of which ended up in my shopping cart this afternoon. There’s also a great variety of ready-cooked foods, from ribs to shrimp salad and a nice selection of wines, coffee, tea. All that and cookware and kitchen tools, too.
We had lunch at the Weathervane, an onsite restaurant which features some tasty salads and sandwiches.
After the shopping afternoon, which took us to both Raleigh and Durham, we made a last stop for dinner at another Chapel Hill culinary landmark, Mama Dip’s. (http://www.mamadips.com)The attraction here is traditional Southern country cooking and there’s absolutely NOTHING like this in London.
Jayne and I both had fried chicken — mine came smothered in gravy — and Cara had tender fried pork chops. My collard greens were perfect and the first rice and gravy I’ve tasted in months was also wonderful.
Topping it off with some banana pudding, I felt that I truly was back home now.